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Theories Of Everything

John D. Barrow (Author)

The Holy Grail of modern scientists is 'The Theory of Everything', which will contain all that can be known about the Universe - the magic formula that Einstein spent his life searching for and failed to find. In this elegant and exciting book, John D. Barrow challenges the quest for ultimate explanation.

Rocket Dreams

Marina Benjamin (Author)

From the first landings on the moon to the implications of our cyber worlds, this unusual and intriguing book takes a provocative look at our fascination with space. Rocket Dreams is a fast-moving, fact-filled study of how all the dreams that went in to moonflight in the '60s have found new homes and mutated into new fascination with space. It is about our unquenchable desire to reach out to other worlds, physical and imaginative. From the Apollo astronauts to the military origins of the internet, and the whole phenomenon of 'virtual communities', it reveals how the ideals and longings pinned on cyberspace have evolved directly from those of the space age. Space dreams have been transformed into screen dreams, but the longing for communication with 'the other' lies at the heart of both.

They've Got Your Number...

Stephen Baker (Author)

In a world teeming with data, we ourselves become the maths gurus' most prized specimens.

In They've Got Your Number..., Stephen Baker takes us on a guided tour (no maths required) through an unprecedented new era. Much in the same way as neuroscientists are mapping our brains, mathematicians are mapping our behaviour - what we do, who we are, how we work, chat, play and shop - everything that makes us individuals. In doing so, they will change every aspect of our lives.

They've Got Your Number... examines one of the great undertakings of the twenty-first century - the mathematical modelling of humanity. It's a world that otherwise might seem remote or disconnected, but one which is absolutely relevant to our everyday lives.

Curious Minds

John Brockman (Author)

Curious Minds is a book of original, autobiographical essays by twenty-seven scientists, including Paul Davies, Richard Dawkins, Daniel C. Dennett, Freeman Dyson, Murray Gell-Mann, Nicholas Humphrey, Lynn Margulis, Steven Pinker and Robert M. Sapolsky.

Each writer attempts to identify that moment or those influences in his or her youth which triggered the determination to become a scientist. Was there a particular event or set of circumstances? To what extent did parents, peers of teachers contribute? Why mathematics rather than psychology; why biology rather than physics? What were the turning points, mistakes, epiphanies?

Personal, passionate, revealing, enthralling, Curious Minds tells as much about life as it does about science.

Quintessence

Lawrence Krauss (Author)

Will the universe continue to expand forever, reverse its expansion and begin to contract, or reach a delicately poised state where it simply persists forever? The answer depends on the amount and properties of matter in the universe, and that has given rise to one of the great paradoxes of modern cosmology; there is too little visible matter to account for the behaviour we can see. Over 90 percent of the universe consists of 'missing mass' or 'dark matter' - what Lawrence Krauss, in his classic book, termed "the fifth essence". In this new edition of The Fifth Essence, retitled Quintessence after the now widely accepted term for dark matter, Krauss shows how the dark matter problem is now connected with two of the hottest areas in recent cosmology: the fate of the universe and the "cosmological constant." With a new introduction, epilogue and chapter updates, Krauss updates his classic and shares one of the most stunning discoveries of recent years: an antigravity force that explains recent observations of a permanently expanding universe.

Design For A Life

Patrick Bateson (Author) , Paul Martin (Author)

How and why does each of us grow up to be the person we are? What role do genes play in shaping our behaviour and personalities? Are our characters fixed, or can we change as adults? How does early experience affect our sexual preferences?

Design for a Life explains the science of behavioural development - the biological and psychological processes that build a unique adult from a fertilised egg. Instead of the conventional opposition between nature (genes) and nurture (environment), Design for a Life offers a new approach that synthesises biology and psychology. It explores the developmental cooking processes that give rise to individuals, and considers in turn how these processes have evolved.

Emperor's Embrace

Jeffrey Masson (Author)

With fascinating insight, impeccable research, and captivating writing, controversial psychoanalyst Jeffrey Masson, a new father himself, showcases the extraordinary behaviour of outstanding fathers in the animal kingdom. From the emperor penguin, who incubates the eggs of his young by carrying them around on his feet for two months, to the sea-horse, the only male animal that gives birth to its young. Mason also examines nature's worst fathers; lions, bears, and humans. A book that will forever change our perceptions of parenthood and love.

Queen Of The Elephants

Mark Shand (Author)

Mark Shand trekked 300 miles across East Benghal and Assam on the back of an elephant with Parbato Barua, the foremost and only female elephant trainer in all India. This book describes the experiences shared during this remarkable journey - joining a government 'elephant squad' together with local villagers to chase a band of wild elephants off a tea estate, and making a stop at Parbati's ancestral home, now a virtual shrine to her father's lifelong work with elephants. The importance of this ancient knowledge becomes clear: if not preserved, the Asian elephant stands an even greater chance of disappearing altogether.

The 21st Century Brain

Steven Rose (Author)

A compelling and authoritative study of the brain - its past, present and future.

The human brain is the most complex structure in the known universe. How it works, the relationship between mind and brain, is one of the most important of scientific questions. Researchers now claim to be able to explain the roots of human personality and behaviour and this new knowledge brings potential new powers; to cure mental illnesses, to control behaviour through tailor-made drugs, to develop human-machine hybrids. But just how seriously should we take these new threats and promises?

In order to tackle these issues Steven Rose explores the evolutionary route by which brains emerged, from the origin of life to today's complex societies. He also investigates how brains develop from a single fertilised egg to the incredibly complex organ that each human possesses. Against this background he asks the challenging question: what does the future hold for the human brain?

The Strange Case Of Mrs Hudson's Cat

Colin Bruce (Author)

Learning the basic laws of physics - mechanics, thermodynamics, relativity, quantum mechanics - can be a struggle. But when that master of deduction, Sherlock Holmes, leads the way, those difficult concepts become crystal clear. Colin Bruce brings Holmes, Dr. Watson, Professor Challenger of Lost World fame, and other favourite Conan Doyle characters to life to solve a Baker Street dozen baffling science mysteries: Murder on a royal train - divers dead of heatstroke at the bottom of an icy sea - a mysterious lady whose brilliance is matched only by her evil - an epidemic of insanity among the world's top scientists. Bruce works out the apparent paradoxes of special relativity and quantum theory in visual and logical terms. The effect is extremely lucid, and very entertaining for the armchair scientist in all of us.

The End Of Time

Damian Thompson (Author)

Damian Thompson highly evocative, brilliant and comprehensive account of apocalyptic belief was a phenomenal critical success upon hardback publication. It brings together the massacre at Waco, the Solar Temple suicides, the Japanese subway gas attack, UFOs, angelic visitors and other apparently unrelated phenomena and places them in the context of the dawning of a new world at the time of the millennium. This is the revised, updated edition in which Damian Thompson tackles subjects such as the millennium dome and the millennium bug; rejacketed by Vintage for the lead-up to the year 2, 000.

Wonderful Life

Stephen Jay Gould (Author)

High in the Canadian Rockies is a small limestone quarry formed 530 million years ago. Called the Burgess Shale, it holds the remains of an ancient sea where dozens of strange creatures lived - a forgotten corner of evolution preserved in incredible detail. In this book Stephen Jay Gould explores what the Burgess Shale might tell us about evolution and the nature of history.

The Darwinian theory of evolution is a well-known, well-explored area. But there is one aspect of human life which this theory of evolution fails to account for: chance. Using the brilliantly preserved fossil fauna of the Burgess Shale as his case study, Gould argues that chance was in fact one of the decisive factors in the evolution of life on this planet, and that, with a flip of coin, everything could have been very different indeed.

Looking For Spinoza

Antonio Damasio (Author)

Joy, sorrow, jealousy and awe - these and other feelings are the stuff of our daily lives. Presumed to be too private for science to explain and not to be essential for comprehending human rationality and understanding, they have largely been ignored. But not by the great seventeenth-century Dutch philosopher Spinoza. And not by Antonio Damasio. In this book Dr. Damasio draws on his innovative research and on his experience with neurological patients to examine how feelings and the emotions that underlie them support the governance of human affairs.

Memory

A S Byatt (Author) , Harriet Harvey Wood (Author)

This fascinating anthology introduces us to a wide range of arguments on the subject of memory, the thread that holds our lives, and our history, together. Arranged in themed sections, the book includes specially commissioned essays by the editors and by writers with expertise in different fields - from 'Memory and Evolution' by Patrick Bateson to 'Memory and Forgetting' by the biographer Richard Holmes, and an account of the chemistry of the brain by Steven Rose.

Complementing the essays are a rich selection of extracts from writers and thinkers such as Plato and Aristotle, Montaigne and Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Proust, Jorge Luis Borges and Haruki Murakami. Stimulating, provocative, funny or profoundly moving, Memory is a book to treasure - and remember.

Chaos

James Gleick (Author)

Chaos brings together work in the field of chaos theory, an extension of classical mechanics, in which simple and complex causes are seen to interact. Mathematics may only be able to solve simple linear equations which experiment has pushed nature into obeying in a limited way, but now that computers can map the whole plane of solutions of non-linear equations a new vision of nature is revealed. The implications are staggeringly universal in all areas of scientific work and philosophical thought.

Must-Have

Geoffrey Miller (Author)

Why do we buy? What is it that governs our choice of car? How does advertising really work? And what can the story of Aladdin teach us about today's world?

In this brilliantly original, provocative and witty book, Geoffrey Miller - acclaimed author of The Mating Mind - takes us on a journey through the surreal wonderlands of marketing, advertising, and media to explore the hidden instincts behind our choices. Combining this with the latest developments in evolutionary psychology, genetics and consumer research, he explains why we buy what we buy and how we can escape the excesses of twenty-first century consumerism.

The Richness of Life

Stephen Jay Gould (Author)

There aren't many scientists famous enough in their lifetime to be canonized by the US Congress as one of America's 'living legends'. Yet few would have grudged this accolade to Stephen Jay Gould, whose writings on history - both of the natural world and of the study of the natural world - had made him a household name by the time of his death in 2002.

A committed Darwinian and robust critic of creationist myths, he nevertheless made major revisions to orthodox Darwinian theory, from his concept of punctuated equilibrium to his insistence on the importance of chance in the history of life on earth. And in addition, his trenchant attacks on scientific racism and the pretensions of sociobiology still resonate, nearly three decades after they were first written.

In The Richness of Life, Steven Rose and Paul McGarr have selected from across the full range of Gould's writing, including some of the most famous of his essays and extracts from his major books. An introduction by Steven Rose sets both the essays, and Gould's life, in context.

Brief Lives 3 - Newton

Peter Ackroyd (Author)

Isaac Newton (1642-1727), the English genius, made his greatest contributions to original thought before the age of twenty-five, while at home in Lincolnshire escaping the great plague of 1665, a period of which he wrote: 'I was in the prime of age for invention.'

Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, an MP, Master of the Mind and President of the Royal Society, Newton, the author of Principia, one of the most important books in the history of science, was fascinated by calculus, the planets and the 'laws of motion', and, in keeping with his age, blurred the borders between natural philosophy and speculation: he was as passionate about astrology as astronomy and dabbled in alchemy, while his religious faith was never undermined by his scientific reasoning.

Peter Ackroyd brings this somewhat puritanical man to life and demonstrates the unique brilliance of his perceptions, which changed our world forever.

Shadows Of The Mind

Roger Penrose (Author)

Shadows of the Mind is a profound exploration of what modern physics has to tell us about the mind, and a visionary description of what a new physics - one that is adequate to account for our extraordinary brain - might look like. It is also a bold speculation on the biological process that makes consciousness what it is.

In this illuminating book Penrose provides powerful arguments to support his conclusion that there is something in the conscious activity of the brain that transcends computation - and will find no explanation in terms of present-day science.

The Feeling Of What Happens

Antonio Damasio (Author)

One of the world's leading experts on the neurophysiology of emotions, Professor Antonio Damasio shows how our consciousness, our sense of being, arose out of the development of emotion. At its core, human consciousness is consciousness of the feeling, experiencing self, the 'very thought of' oneself. Brilliantly wide-ranging in his scope, Damasio illustrates his thesis with fascinating and illuminating neurological case studies that are both stimulating and provocative.

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